ESADEgeo Daily Digest, 15/11/2017

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Al-Monitor—Bryant Harris / Congress moves bill jeopardizing Iran nuclear deal

  • The Strengthening Oversight of Iran’s Access to Finance Act, if passed by Congress, would make it much more difficult for Iran to purchase commercial aircraft from firms that do business in the United States.
  • The bill does not outright ban the sale of commercial aircraft to Iran. But it imposes reporting and certification requirements that could well prompt the Treasury Department to cease issuing licenses allowing for such sales.
  • “Iran would view [the bill’s] enactment into law as a breach of the JCPOA,” said Kenneth Katzman, an Iran expert at the Congressional Research Service. “The agreement contains a clear US commitment to undertake such sales to Iran.”
  • “My take on this bill is that if implemented the way I kind of expect, it probably would violate the JCPOA” said Richard Nephew, lead sanctions expert for the US negotiating team with Iran under the Barack Obama administration.

Foreign Affairs—J. Berkshire Miller / How Abe and Modi can save the Indo-Pacific

  • The relationship between India and Japan—historically strategically distant—has grown increasingly robust under the stewardship of Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Shinzo Abe. One reason the two countries are coming together is a common strategic anxiety about China’s rise.
  • Both countries have come to share a sense of purpose in promoting the current order in the region, which is based on transparent institutions, good governance, and international law.
  • Delhi and Tokyo see the importance of building complementary diplomatic relationships that largely align with Washington but are not led by the United States. Both sides agreed in a joint statement to align their two regional strategies: Japan’s Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy and India’s Act East Policy.
  • Delhi sees Tokyo as a natural partner, with growing defense capabilities, that has developed a number of key relationships in the region. And Tokyo sees Delhi as a crucial geopolitical balancer that, despite some difference in strategic thinking, is increasingly willing to step up and contribute to regional security. However, how the two countries’ strategies will converge in practice remains to be seen.

Project Syndicate—Kemal Derviş / Democracy beyond the nation-state

  • Rodrik’s concept of a “political trilemma of the world economy,” which Javier Solana also recently explored, is useful, but incomplete. To get the most out of Rodrik’s concept, it is necessary to account for another dimension: the many levels of governance that exist in today’s world.
  • The tension between democracy and globalization seems to be less acute at the municipal level. The ways in which these dynamics can complicate Rodrik’s political trilemma have been on display in Catalonia, where the tension between local democracy and the nation-state is even more acute than that with globalization.
  • What if we adopted a new approach, in which local-level democracy and sovereignty were strengthened?
  • However, there are also serious risks linked with this approach. As metropolitan areas attract a growing share of capital, skilled labor, and innovative capacity, rural areas are likely to face economic decline. That trend creates fertile ground for populist politicians.
  • The nation-state would therefore have to retain a major redistributive role, though an appropriate balance must be struck, in order to prevent the trilemma from reasserting itself.

Financial Times—Sarah Murray / Mo Ibrahim: ‘It is the head of the fish that goes rotten first’

  • “It was obvious to me . . . working in Africa, that the problem is our failure to construct the right system of governance in our countries,” Mo Ibrahim says.
  • “When the colonial system collapsed and power was handed over in a rush, independence was a flag and a national anthem . . . We didn’t pay attention to building institutions.”
  • “It is the head of the fish that goes rotten first . . . So what is needed is to shed a light on the performance of the leadership.” That is what the Mo Ibrahim Foundation strives to do, by rewarding leaders who were democratically elected, strengthened their country’s democracy and human rights, worked towards increased prosperity and relinquished power voluntarily.
  • If no leaders can be found who meet the criteria laid out, the prize is not awarded. This has been the case in several years.

The selected pieces do not necessarily reflect the views of Javier Solana and ESADEgeo. 

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